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What’s New from Forge this Winter

A new year is upon us, which means a slew of new books are arriving on the scene from Forge! We’re so excited to share the lineup of amazing books we have coming your way this winter. If you’re on the hunt for some books to curl up with during these chillier months of the year, take a look at what Forge has in store for you!


Cutthroat Dogs by Loren D. Estleman

Placeholder of  -19“Someone is dead who shouldn’t be, and the wrong man is in prison.”

Nearly twenty years ago, college freshman April Goss was found dead in her bathtub, an apparent suicide, but suspicion soon fell on her boyfriend. Dan Corbeil was convicted of her murder and sent to prison. Case closed.

Or is it?

Available to read now!

A Thousand Steps by T. Jefferson Parker

A Thousand Steps-1Laguna Beach, California, 1968. The Age of Aquarius is in full swing. Timothy Leary is a rock star. LSD is God. Folks from all over are flocking to Laguna, seeking peace, love, and enlightenment.

Matt Anthony is just trying get by.

Matt is sixteen, broke, and never sure where his next meal is coming from. Mom’s a stoner, his deadbeat dad is a no-show, his brother’s fighting in Nam . . . and his big sister Jazz has just gone missing. The cops figure she’s just another runaway hippie chick, enjoying a summer of love, but Matt doesn’t believe it. Not after another missing girl turns up dead on the beach.

All Matt really wants to do is get his driver’s license and ask out the girl he’s been crushing on since fourth grade, yet it’s up to him to find his sister. But in a town where the cops don’t trust the hippies and the hippies don’t trust the cops, uncovering what’s really happened to Jazz is going to force him to grow up fast.

If it’s not already too late.

Available to read now!

Margaret Truman’s Murder at the CDC by Margaret Truman and Jon Land

Margaret Truman's Murder at the CDC2017: A military transport on a secret run to dispose of its deadly contents vanishes without a trace.

The present: A mass shooting on the steps of the Capitol nearly claims the life of Robert Brixton’s grandson.

No stranger to high-stakes investigations, Brixton embarks on a trail to uncover the motive behind the shooting. On the way he finds himself probing the attempted murder of the daughter of his best friend, who works at the Washington offices of the CDC.

The connection between the mass shooting and Alexandra’s poisoning lies in that long-lost military transport that has been recovered by forces determined to change America forever. Those forces are led by radical separatist leader Deacon Frank Wilhyte, whose goal is nothing short of bringing on a second Civil War.

Brixton joins forces with Kelly Lofton, a former Baltimore homicide detective. She has her own reasons for wanting to find the truth behind the shooting on the Capitol steps, and is the only person with the direct knowledge Brixton needs. But chasing the truth places them in the cross-hairs of both Wilhyte’s legions and his Washington enablers.

Coming 2.15.22!

The Chase by Candice Fox

The Chase

“Are you listening, Warden?”

“What do you want?”

“I want you to let them out.”

“Which inmates are we talking about?”

“All of them.”

With that, the largest manhunt in United States history is on. In response to a hostage situation, more than 600 inmates from the Pronghorn Correctional Facility, including everyone on Death Row, are released into the Nevada Desert. Criminals considered the worst of the worst, monsters with dark, violent pasts, are getting farther away by the second.

John Kradle, convicted of murdering his wife and son, is one of the escapees. Now, desperate to discover what really happened that night, Kradle must avoid capture and work quickly to prove his innocence as law enforcement closes in on the fugitives.

Death Row Supervisor, and now fugitive-hunter, Celine Osbourne has focused all of her energy on catching Kradle and bringing him back to Death Row. She has very personal reasons for hating him – and she knows exactly where he’s heading…

Coming 3.8.22!

Assassin’s Edge by Ward Larsen

image alt textA U.S. spy plane crashes off the northern coast of Russia at the same time that a Mossad operative is abducted from a street in Kazakhstan. The two events seem unrelated, but as suspicions rise, the CIA calls in its premier operative, David Slaton.

When wreckage from the aircraft is discovered on a remote Arctic island, Slaton and a team are sent on a clandestine mission to investigate. While they comb a frigid Russian island at the top of the world, disaster strikes yet again: a U.S. Navy destroyer sinks in the Black Sea.

Evidence begins mounting that these disparate events are linked, controlled by an unseen hand. A mysterious source, code name Lazarus, provides tantalizing clues about another impending strike. Yet Lazarus has an agenda that is deeply personal, a thirst for revenge against a handful of clandestine operators. Prime among them: David Slaton.

Coming 4.12.22!

Traitor by David Hagberg

image alt text1When McGarvey’s best friend, Otto, is charged with treason, Mac and his wife, Petey, set out on a desperate odyssey to clear Otto’s name. Crossing oceans and continents, their journey will take them from Japan to the US to Pakistan to Russia. Caught in a Kremlin crossfire between two warring intel agencies, Mac and Petey must fight for their lives every step of the way.

And the stakes could not be higher.

Coming 4.26.22!

And here are some great books coming out in trade paperback!

Waiting for the Night Song by Julie Carrick Dalton

Waiting for the Night Song-1Cadie Kessler has spent decades trying to cover up one truth. One moment. But deep down, didn’t she always know her secret would surface?

An urgent message from her long-estranged best friend Daniela Garcia brings Cadie, now a forestry researcher, back to her childhood home. There, Cadie and Daniela are forced to face a dark secret that ended both their idyllic childhood bond and the magical summer that takes up more space in Cadie’s memory then all her other years combined.

Now grown up, bound by long-held oaths, and faced with truths she does not wish to see, Cadie must decide what she is willing to sacrifice to protect the people and the forest she loves, as drought, foreclosures, and wildfire spark tensions between displaced migrant farm workers and locals.

Waiting for the Night Song is a love song to the natural beauty around us, a call to fight for what we believe in, and a reminder that the truth will always rise.

Available to read now! Reading group guide also available.

My Brilliant Life by Ae-ran Kim; translated by Chi-Young Kim

My Brilliant Life-1Areum lives life to its fullest, vicariously through the stories of his parents, conversations with Little Grandpa Jang—his sixty-year-old neighbor and best friend—and through the books he reads to visit the places he would otherwise never see.

For several months, Areum has been working on a manuscript, piecing together his parents’ often embellished stories about his family and childhood. He hopes to present it on his birthday, as a final gift to his mom and dad; their own falling-in-love story.

Through it all, Areum and his family will have you laughing and crying, for all the right reasons.

Coming 2.1.22! Reading group guide also available.

Her Perfect Life by Hank Phillippi Ryan

Her Perfect Life-1Everyone knows Lily Atwood—and that may be her biggest problem. The beloved television reporter has it all—fame, fortune, Emmys, an adorable seven-year-old daughter, and the hashtag her loving fans created: #PerfectLily. To keep it, all she has to do is protect one life-changing secret.

Her own.

Lily has an anonymous source who feeds her story tips—but suddenly, the source begins telling Lily inside information about her own life. How does he—or she—know the truth?

Lily understands that no one reveals a secret unless they have a reason. Now she’s terrified someone is determined to destroy her world—and with it, everyone and everything she holds dear.

How much will she risk to keep her perfect life?

Coming 3.8.22! Reading group guide also available.

The Lights of Sugarberry Cove by Heather Webber

The Lights of Sugarberry Cove-1Sadie Way Scott has been avoiding her family and hometown of Sugarberry Cove, Alabama, since she nearly drowned in the lake just outside her mother’s B&B. Eight years later, Sadie is the host of a much-loved show about southern cooking and family, but despite her success, she wonders why she was saved. What is she supposed to do?

Sadie’s sister, Leala Clare, is still haunted by the guilt she feels over the night her sister almost died. Now, at a crossroads in her marriage, Leala has everything she ever thought she wanted—so why is she so unhappy?

When their mother suffers a minor heart attack just before Sugarberry Cove’s famous water lantern festival, the two sisters come home to run the inn while she recovers. It’s the last place either of them wants to be, but with a little help from the inn’s quirky guests, the sisters may come to terms with their strained relationships, accept the past, and rediscover a little lake magic.

Coming 3.1.22! Reading group guide also available.

The Widow Queen by Elzbieta Cherezinska

The Widow QueenThe bold one, they call her—too bold for most.

To her father, the great duke of Poland, Swietoslawa and her two sisters represent three chances for an alliance. Three marriages on which to build his empire.

But Swietoslawa refuses to be simply a pawn in her father’s schemes; she seeks a throne of her own, with no husband by her side.

The gods may grant her wish, but crowns sit heavy, and power is a sword that cuts both ways.

Coming 3.15.22! Reading group guide also available.

Comes the War by Ed Ruggero

Comes the War-1April 1944, the fifty-fifth month of the war in Europe. The entire island of Britain fairly buzzes with the coiled energy of a million men poised to leap the Channel to France, the first, riskiest step in the Allies’ long slog to the heart of Germany and the end of the war.

Lieutenant Eddie Harkins is tasked to investigate the murder of Helen Batcheller, an OSS analyst. Harkins is assigned a British driver, Private Pamela Lowell, to aid in his investigation. Lowell is smart, brave and resourceful; like Harkins, she is prone to speak her mind even when it doesn’t help her.

Soon a suspect is arrested and Harkins is ordered to stop digging. Suspicious, he continues his investigation only to find himself trapped in a web of Soviet secrets. As bombs fall, Harkins must solve the murder and reveal the spies before it is too late.

Coming 3.29.22!

A Dog’s Courage by W. Bruce Cameron

A Dog's CourageBella was once a lost dog, but now she lives happily with her people, Lucas and Olivia, only occasionally recalling the hardships in her past. Then a weekend camping trip turns into a harrowing struggle for survival when the Rocky Mountains are engulfed by the biggest wildfire in American history. The raging inferno separates Bella from her people and she is lost once more.

Alone in the wilderness, Bella unexpectedly finds herself responsible for the safety of two defenseless mountain lion cubs. Now she’s torn between two equally urgent goals. More than anything, she wants to find her way home to Lucas and Olivia, but not if it means abandoning her new family to danger. And danger abounds, from predators hunting them to the flames threatening at every turn.

Can Bella ever get back to where she truly belongs?

A Dog’s Courage is more than a fast-paced adventure, more than a devoted dog’s struggle to survive, it’s a story asking that we believe in our dogs as much as they believe in us.

Coming 4.5.22!

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Excerpt: A Dog’s Courage by W. Bruce Cameron

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#1 New York Times bestselling author W. Bruce Cameron once again captures the bravery and determination of a very good dog in the gripping sequel to A Dog’s Way Home, the acclaimed novel that inspired the hit movie!

Bella was once a lost dog, but now she lives happily with her people, Lucas and Olivia, only occasionally recalling the hardships in her past. Then a weekend camping trip turns into a harrowing struggle for survival when the Rocky Mountains are engulfed by the biggest wildfire in American history. The raging inferno separates Bella from her people and she is lost once more.

Alone in the wilderness, Bella unexpectedly finds herself responsible for the safety of two defenseless mountain lion cubs. Now she’s torn between two equally urgent goals. More than anything, she wants to find her way home to Lucas and Olivia, but not if it means abandoning her new family to danger. And danger abounds, from predators hunting them to the flames threatening at every turn.

Can Bella ever get back to where she truly belongs?

A Dog’s Courage is more than a fast-paced adventure, more than a devoted dog’s struggle to survive, it’s a story asking that we believe in our dogs as much as they believe in us.

A Dog’s Courage will be available on May 4, 2021. Please enjoy the following excerpt!


One

I was enjoying the sort of nap that, as a dog, I had long ago mastered: sprawled out on sparse grasses, my nose filled with  the fresh smell of trees, ears barely registering the small noises of birds and other rustlings. Sleeping outside near my boy, Lucas, his scent giving me an overall sense of his presence, is one of the most wonderful things to do on a lazy afternoon after a walk in the mountains. I was drifting on well-being, happy to be alive.I was enjoying the sort of nap that, as a dog, I had long ago mastered: sprawled out on sparse grasses, my nose filled with  the fresh smell of trees, ears barely registering the small noises of birds and other rustlings. Sleeping outside near my boy, Lucas, his scent giving me an overall sense of his presence, is one of the most wonderful things to do on a lazy afternoon after a walk in

Lucas shared my contentment; I could tell by his relaxed breathing. He was sitting drowsily in the sun with his dog and his Olivia.

So I was startled when all of a sudden, tension jolted him. I instantly popped open my eyes and lifted my head, blinking away the sleep.

“Nobody move,” he urged. I glanced over at him, but then turned my full attention to what I could suddenly smell: a cat, fe- male, a big one, somewhere close, lurking in the bushes. The feral odor was unmistakable.

For a moment I thought it might be a very particular mountain cat, one I knew as well as any animal I had ever met or smelled, but I quickly realized that no, this was a stranger, a new intruder. She wasn’t moving, so I didn’t spy her at first. Then she shifted slightly, and I saw her. She was stocky and powerful and larger than the cats who lived in the house down the street, almost bigger than any cat I had ever seen. Her head would easily reach my back. She was spotted, with alert ears held high and a rabbit dangling from her mouth. I could smell the rabbit as strongly as the wild cat.

So, no, this wasn’t any animal I knew, though she did bring to mind a mountain cat that was much larger than this one.

The cat and I locked eyes, frozen. Lucas and Olivia were both motionless and tense, but not afraid. “Do you see it?” Lucas asked in the barest of whispers.

Olivia stirred. “I’ve only seen one other bobcat in my whole life. This is so cool!”

Lucas nodded ever so slightly. “It’s beautiful.”

I was still staring at the cat and the cat was still staring at me. It was the type of moment I often share with squirrels, when we’re both immobile, right before one of us bolts and the chase is on.

I wasn’t sure I wanted to chase this particular animal, though. “I’m going to reach for my phone,” Lucas murmured. “Get some video of this. Bella, no barks.”

I did not understand why my boy would tell me No Barks when I wasn’t barking, or making any noise at all. I noticed his hand creeping ever so slowly, but it was movement enough to remind the big cat that she had other things to do than just stare at two people and their wonderful dog. With motion as quiet as Lucas’s whisper, she turned and was quickly in the bushes and gone, though her powerful smell lingered long after she vanished.

If I were going to give chase, now would be my moment. But I did not want the cat, or her rabbit. I had not yet been fed dinner, and did not want to be off in the woods pursuing wild creatures when it was presented.

“Amazing, that was amazing,” Olivia enthused.

“I’ve never seen one before. Wow,” Lucas agreed. “You know, I used to camp all the time and I never came across anything but elk. But with you we’ve seen bears, that eagle, a mountain lion, and now we can add a bobcat to the list.”

“You’re saying I’m good luck.”

Lucas grinned at her. “I’m saying that now that I’m with you, maybe I notice more of what’s good about life.”

“That’s sweet.” I wagged.

“Why do you suppose it came so close to our campsite?” Olivia asked. “What does it mean?”

“Mean? What, like a sign, or an omen? A message from the cat gods? I don’t think it needs to mean anything. It was just a wild animal checking us out.”

Olivia shrugged. “It’s just pretty unusual behavior for a felid. Humans are really their only natural enemy.”

“Felid!” Lucas howled. He crawled across the grass to Olivia and pulled her onto her back, laughing at her. “What the heck is a felid?”

Olivia was smiling up at him. “It’s  just a name for  a wild cat.    I was showing off that I know some words that my brainy doctor husband doesn’t know. And it is almost an omen to see a bobcat sneaking up on people instead of the other way around, don’t you think?”

“Maybe it wasn’t stalking us at all; maybe it wanted to get a  look at Bella. Our canid.”

I wagged at my name.

“Canid! My husband is so smart.”

“My wife is so smart. So, okay, what else about bobcats?”

“I know they’re territorial, like mountain lions. If a female is in her territory, she’s queen and nobody messes with her. But if she accidentally wanders into another female’s range, it’s open sea- son. She goes from predator to prey. Sort of what would happen if some nurse tried to flirt with handsome Dr. Lucas Ray.”

Lucas laughed. “I still don’t think Felid the Cat was an omen.” I had the sense that they were talking about the cat and the rabbit, but I didn’t feel motivated to pursue it into the trees. My place now was with my people, my Lucas and Olivia. We lived together in a house with a room to sleep in, a room to eat in, and a room where all the food was kept, called “kitchen.” Sometimes I would lie on the floor of the food room, just to drink in the wonderful smells.

I never know why, but on occasion Lucas packs things into a car he calls “the Jeep” and drives us up into the mountains. On those nights we sleep in a single, soft-sided room Lucas and Olivia would temporarily erect near the vehicle. That’s what we were doing now.

Not long after the wild cat ran off with her kill, Lucas opened some packets and made dinner, an action I found to be a very positive development.

They sat in chairs Olivia unfolded. While I watched attentively for dropped food items, my thoughts returned first to the cat with the rabbit, and then to how her appearance had instantly brought to mind a much larger cat, one with whom I had spent many, many days and nights in these same mountains. Though she grew to be a huge creature, I always thought of her as Big Kitten, because she was a kitten when I met her.

Lucas tossed me a piece of dinner. As I deftly snagged pieces of food out of the air, I realized how the feral odors of the wild cat were more imagined than actually sensed, now that she had faded into the woods with her rabbit. That’s what happens in the mountains—it isn’t that a dog can’t find a particular odor out there, it’s that there are so many other smells competing for the primary position in the nose. I gave up trying to track her—she was long gone. In fact, after a time, I was back to reflecting on Big Kitten, calling up the memory of how she smelled when we curled up for sleep together, the snow coming down on both of us in a soft blanket.

Often when I am sprawled at my boy’s feet at night I will ponder how different my life is now that I am back with people. For a time, I was a dog who hunted and roamed the trails with a giant cat, and didn’t sleep on beds, or get fed dinner twice a day. I was often hungry and afraid, but my companion and I survived. Big Kitten and I were a pack through two winters, relying on each other.

I usually thought about Big Kitten whenever Lucas and Olivia took me up into the mountains, because it was in the mountains where I first encountered her.

When I found Big Kitten she was smaller than the she-cat I had just seen with the rabbit, and she was alone. Her mother had recently died because of something two men had done to her. That’s what I concluded as I sniffed the mother cat’s lifeless body sprawled in the dirt, because there had been a loud bang- ing noise and the two men were running toward me, shouting excitedly to each other. The powerful odor of fresh blood clung to the mother feline’s motionless corpse, and the air still carried the sharp tang of an acrid smoke that was growing stronger as the men thrashed through the woods, headed in my direction. I was tensed and ready to flee when I spotted the baby cat watching me from the bushes.

I decided in that moment that the big kitten hiding in the bushes, though larger than any adult cat I had ever seen before, was the baby of the gigantic cat who lay dead and bloody in the sand.

I needed to protect her from the bad men. I had the sense that whatever they had done to the huge cat to kill it, they would do to the big kitten, and probably to me as well.

Over time, I became Big Kitten’s mother cat. In a way it was a natural role for me, because when I was just a puppy, long before I met Lucas, my mother dog was taken from me by a different set of bad men, and I wound up living under a house with a family of cats. My littermates were kittens, and their mother was my mother.

This lasted a short time, until Lucas took me home, and then I lived with people instead of cats.

I taught Big Kitten how to hunt. She and I went for long, long walks together because I was a lost dog. I had been separated from Lucas, my person, and was making my way home to him. Big Kitten came with me. Along the way, we fed together, and Big Kitten grew until she was much larger than me.

I loved Big Kitten, but I loved being a dog to Lucas even more. So as I did Go Home, Big Kitten remained behind in the wilds, watching me walk away from her, out of the mountains and toward the smells and sounds of a big, open city with cars and many, many people.

As I left Big Kitten and descended toward the streets and buildings and traffic, I couldn’t separate my boy’s smell from the countless human scents on the air, but I could sense him, feel him, and I knew I would be able to find my way home to him.

I never saw Big Kitten again, but it was not hard to imagine, as I drifted off to sleep many nights, that she was right there next to me, keeping me warm, keeping me company: the best animal friend I ever had.

Often when we took car rides in the Jeep, ranging along bouncy mountain roads, I would thrust my nose out into the wind and concentrate on trying to find her, searching for a single whiff of cat to let me know she was still alive. Thus far I had been unsuccessful, but Lucas always found new places for us to stay, and I thought it likely I would one day see my dear friend again.

I looked forward to that.

Lucas and Olivia were eating chunks of meat, but they did not neglect a good dog like me. I was dazzling them with my Sit. That one always works.

After dinner, Lucas and Olivia and I crawled into the small room where we slept when we were on Jeep car rides. This was our second night and, if past behavior was any guide, we would soon be driving back home to sleep on our bed inside our house.

I didn’t mind where I slept, as long as I was with my boy. I fussed to get the soft blankets just right, but eventually settled  in between Lucas and Olivia. As I did so, a warmth rose up from within me, because I was with the people who loved me and I loved them. Since the moment I first met Lucas, I knew the two of us belonged together. The reason I never gave up on my long trek back home was because I was his dog. On my travels I met several people who were nice to me and wanted to take care of me, but there was only one Lucas.

As often as I dreamed of Big Kitten, I dreamed of my boy, running with me, or feeding me treats.

Not long after Lucas zipped the door closed, I heard some- thing rustling in the plants outside in the night and raised my head and gave a low warning growl.

“Bella, no barks, okay?” Lucas murmured sleepily. “Lucas, no snores, okay?” Olivia replied.

Lucas chuckled in the dark. “I’ve read that wives often pretend that their husbands snore, just so the poor guys will feel guilty.”

“I’ve read that when men snore, their wives will dump water on them just to make the poor guys feel wet,” Olivia countered.

Lucas propped himself up on an elbow. “You snore sometimes and I’ve never complained.”

“That’s because your snoring drowns mine completely out.” “Well, see how lucky you are?”

Olivia laughed. “This thing you do where you pretend to be really dumb is pretty funny.”

“Glad I amuse you.”

“Maybe sometime in the future you could pretend to be smart. Like for my birthday, maybe,” Olivia teased. “Just one day. The rest of the year you can go back to playing dumb.”

They were grinning at each other. Lucas reached over me and touched Olivia’s shoulder, and I wagged because his arm was rest- ing on my back. “Hey.”

“Hey what.”

“I love you, Olivia Ray.” “I love you, Lucas Ray.”

I heard a rustling sound and growled again. “Bella, no snores,” Lucas intoned.

“No snores, Bella,” Olivia agreed.

I wondered what they were telling me.

“I have a surprise for you tomorrow,” Lucas remarked after a long moment of silence.

Olivia stirred. I opened my eyes but didn’t otherwise react. “Surprise? What is it?” she demanded.

“Well, clearly, I can’t say—that’s the nature of a surprise. Surely someone has told you that before.”

“Does it rhyme with ‘whirl wecklass’?” “Go to sleep, Olivia.”

“How about ‘wuby wing’?”

Lucas laughed. “Go to sleep. You’ll find out tomorrow.”

 

Copyright © 2021 by W. Bruce Cameron

Pre-order A Dog’s Courage—available on May 4, 2021!

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